Knicks Star Julius Randle Recalls An Incident in Detroit That Confirmed Legend of Kobe Bryant – ‘It Gave Me Chills’

Published 03/06/2021, 2:55 PM EST


For some people, Utah Jazz may be the fairytale of this NBA season so far. But for the others, it is New York Knicks. Led by Julius Randle, they lie in 5th place in the Eastern Conference Standings. And Randle may attribute it to the teachings of Kobe Bryant.

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On the occasion of his All-Star debut, Randle wrote a very personal column of his NBA journey on The Players’ Tribune. So, as soon as the name of the late great Mamba popped up, it was sure to attract some attention.

Feb 21, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks looks to pass as Jarred Vanderbilt #8 and Anthony Edwards #1 of the Minnesota Timberwolves defend during the first half at Madison Square Garden on February 21, 2021 in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Sarah Stier/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Randle has a strict training routine which was instilled in him by Kobe Bryant (more on that later). So, whenever his team is on the road, he asks them to arrange a practice court for him. Now, during a workout session at a high school gym in Detroit, the athletic director told him –

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“Guys don’t really show up here to work out anymore. Matter of fact, the last guy to come in this late to shoot — man, that must have been years ago. It was Kobe.”

WALTHAM, MA – JUNE 20: The Boston Celtics try out Kobe Bryant as coaches look on. (Photo by Tom Landers/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

When Randle Had His Crazy Encounter With Kobe Bryant – ‘We’re Going to the Gym’

The setting is of the year 2015 around the time when Randle was drafted by the Lakers. After the rookie had missed his first season with an injury, he was looking forward to going back to his hometown and meeting his friends and family –

“I think it’s one of the things a lot of guys look forward to when they get to the league. It’s playing that first game on the road in the city where you came up.

“I grew up in Dallas, so I had this early-season road game against the Mavericks circled on my calendar. I was excited.”

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 6: Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers during the basketball game against Golden State Warriors at Staples Center March 6, 2016, in Los Angeles, California.
(Photo by Mintaha Neslihan Eroglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

But, Kobe Bryant had other plans – “So then we get off the plane, we ride to the hotel, and… Kobe turns to me and he goes, ‘Julius, what you bout to do.’ I’m like, ‘I’m about to see my family, chill with some friends, you know. Have a night,'” remarked Randle.

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“And Kobe, he just cuts me off. He’s like, ‘Nah. We’re going to the gym.'”

What happened next is just another typical Kobe encounter. But again goes to show how much impact he made on another budding NBA player.

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DIVE DEEPER

When Charles Barkley Called Kobe Bryant ‘Selfish’ and Instantly Regretted It

2 months ago

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Bharat Aggarwal

712 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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